This issue is entirely devoted to three schools, each with very different needs and approaches, who discuss their plans for hitting their CPD targets in 2009

Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.
Carl Bard

What will 2009 bring for CPD in our schools? It’s over to you…

We spoke to Dr Sean Thornton, Headteacher of Wadebridge School in Cornwall; Glynis Evans, Deputy Assistant Principal of All Saints College, Newcastle upon Tyne; and Elizabeth Wood, Headteacher of Oliver Tomkins Cof E Junior School, Wiltshire to find out what their main targets are for CPD in the year ahead. This is what they had to say.

Dr Sean Thornton, Headteacher of Wadebridge School, Cornwall
Wadebridge School is a mixed Business Enterprise College with 1250 students aged 11 to 18.

Many of the key issues that we will be tackling through continuing professional development throughout 2009 are very closely aligned with the key development issues at a national level. At Key Stage 4 our main focus is preparation for diploma development in 2009. We have to concentrate on functional skills and working with other partners, but there are also many other effects of the diplomas across Key Stage 4, which we will be preparing for through professional and personal development.

Lower down the school, we will be taking forward our development on the revised Key Stage 3 curriculum. We are also piloting functional skills in Year 9 and there is naturally quite extensive CPD to take place to ensure that we embed those throughout the whole curriculum, rather than simply attaching them as an add-on. Also at Key Stage 3 we want to do further work on fully embedding the SEAL approach. We have done some work on this so far but we want to take this further, in particular emphasising how essential SEAL is for effective learning. We will be revisiting Year 6 and Year 7 transition as well.

At post-16 our main focus is in improving the quality of learning. We have appointed a post-16 ‘champion’ to raise the profile of post-16 issues and the quality of teaching and learning.

These are the issues which are affecting our training and development over 2009, and are vitally important to our success over the coming months.

Glynis Evans, Deputy Assistant Principal of All Saints College, Newcastle upon Tyne
All Saints College is a mixed Business Enterprise College with 874 students aged 11 to 18.

We are a National Challenge school, so our focus for whole-staff training and CPD sessions on the college calendar is based around our Raising Attainment Plan. The aim of our CPD programme for 2009 is threefold. We want to allow staff to develop the skills which will enable our college to meet the needs of our students and the challenges we face in raising attainment; to support colleagues’ progression; and to value staff as professionals, encouraging them to invest in their own personalised learning.

We aim to achieve these goals through whole-staff training days, City Twilight sessions, CPD calendared meetings and personalised pathways.

Our CPD personalised pathways have been devised to enable all staff to access a route which will help them to develop professionally and which is in addition to compulsory CPD in-house training. It may be an area which has been identified through performance management or an area of particular interest.

The numbers of sessions, length of the course, delivery and venue are specific to each course. So, for example, we have an aspirant leaders programme for those staff wishing to progress towards a leadership role; a leadership coaching and mentoring programme reflecting on practice and development needs; an ICT programme exploring Microsoft programs such as Word, Excel, Sims and Outlook as well as using the whiteboard. These short courses run throughout the year to support staff needs. We also have middle leader training; teaching and learning development sessions; the cover supervisor toolkit; an introduction to leadership; an exploration of recruitment and selection procedures; and student support training among many others.

Elizabeth Wood, Oliver Tomkins CofE Junior School, Wiltshire
Oliver Tomkins CofE Junior School is a mixed school with 220 pupils.

We have two main development priorities for 2009 which will be our main focus in CPD. The first one is to do with improving the teaching and learning of writing and the second one is around closing our gender gap. In our school, boys are outperforming girls in maths in particular. Children who end Key Stage 1 with average attainment in maths are finding it very difficult to convert that into a solid Level 4 at the end of Key Stage 2. So we are working with three particular groups of girls in Year 4 as well as looking at lesson study to understand what it is that teachers are doing inadvertently which may be putting barriers in the way of better achievement.

Alongside these priorities we are also focusing on developing our abilities to assess, level and track teaching and learning so that we can better meet learners’ needs. This is closely linked to the personalised learning agenda and should help us to identify children who may need specific help being moved on in their learning.

We are tending to do less and less off-site training now; instead we use the skills and resources that we have in the ‘Swindon 10’, which is a learning network of five primary schools and five secondary schools in Swindon. As a teaching and learning academy we can share skills and expertise right across all 10 schools. This has enabled us to adopt a peer observation and lesson study approach which suits us very well. We have also organised PPA time so that all staff in each year group have it at the same time. This means that if staff decide to do so, they can undertake CPD together as a year group during that time. It is these kinds of measures and initiatives that have helped us to tailor CPD as closely as possible to our needs.

This e-bulletin issue was first published in December 2008

About the author: Elizabeth Holmes qualified as a teacher at the Institute of Education, London and is the author of several books specialising in the areas of professional development and teacher well-being.